total-exhaustion-mid-20Guest article

Total exhaustion at mid-20s?

How it can happen and how you can prevent it!

What or who do you associate with burnout? Maybe a stressed manager, late 40s, from the free economy in a fancy suit, who sits at his desk until late at night and can't put his cell phone aside at home?

These characters are certainly also frequent sufferers of Burnout or other stress-related mental illnesses. Burnout has long since ceased to be "reserved" only for stressed managers. It should be mentioned in passing that especially occupational groups such as teachers, social workers, nurses or police officers are those with the highest risk of burnout.

The other risk group

This paper is about a risk group to whom total exhaustion is least "assigned" and rarely talked about in this context. Young people between 20 and 35, which are still in the Study or are in the process of starting their careers. People who are "actually" bursting with energy... and "just get it together."

Without thinking twice, I can already list a few people from my circle of acquaintances who suffered a burnout at the age of 25/26 and had to drop out of their studies or quit their job as a result. If I only had to list the "harmless cases", i.e. how many have stressed all the time and are already experiencing symptoms such as Insomnia or digestive disorders two hands are almost not enough to enumerate them. How can this be?

Let's take a look at Risk factors for burnout on:

Environmental factors:

  • Extremely high performance requirements
  • High work volume and high speed
  • High degree of responsibility and decision-making power
  • Contact with extreme interpersonal situations
  • High stress in various areas of life

Factors of one's personality:

A look at the personality factors makes it clear why young people can be very susceptible to mental exhaustion. I remember how highly motivated I was when I started my studies after graduating from high school. Finally learning something I had chosen for myself. Finally creating my dream life and hitting the ground running. I was motivated to the top of my head and wanted to clinchto get the best possible out of it. The same is true for most people at the beginning of their studies and career.

As long as the performance requirements can be met according to one's own standards, we feel good and are on the road to success. But the days of leisurely studying without a time limit are long gone and the Performance requirements are already very high at the beginning depending on the course of study and profession.

In addition, there are other external risk factors, such as Fears of the future, financial worries (how do I pay rent as a student in expensive big cities?) and additional burdens due to a new social environmentthat young people are often confronted with. One is, for example, through a Relocation to a new town suddenly "on his own" .

Claim: Self-optimization

Irrespective of this, there has been a trend for some years now which is doing its bit in this context and which I view very critically. The topic of self-optimization is very popular: "No pain, no gain." or "If you give everything you have - you can have anything you want." are not just motivational sayings for many young people, but a Attitude towards life have become.

Today, this demand is no longer limited to professional development, but extends into all areas of life. Career in the dream job, the perfect relationship, great friends, the perfect apartment and in terms of fitness and Nutrition should also everything "on point be.


It's a way of life that becomes dangerous when it leads to... no target good enough is. When we believe we have to achieve everything that is theoretically possible - and everything is possible, if you take the motivating slogans at their word. Those who don't play along seem to want to "make nothing of their lives". Casual slogans that can have a very strong influence on young people, especially in their orientation phase.

Who knows, maybe everything is actually possible - but at what price? What do we get out of a "perfect" life if it robs us of more energy than it gives? The moment we totally exhausted to "wake up" from our turbo mode can be quite painful. When we ask ourselves what we are paying the price for, because we have lost access to our own needs and desires and only function. Apart from the health consequences, which we like to push aside and dismiss as "normal".

Question your own attitudes

But what can we do to avoid this? This is not about meditating or optimizing your life. Time Managementbut to check and if necessary change your basic settings.

1. own needs and wishes

Always be aware of your own needs and desires and take them seriously. The more you ignore them, the more your body will remind you later. This consciousness, your intuition, serves you like a compass, both for small decisions in everyday life and for larger decisions.

Regular Relaxation exercises can help us to regain a feeling for our body and our mental state. Through the exercises we learn what relaxation feels like and can identify strong deviations much earlier and shift down a gear in time.

2. learn to delimit yourself

This point also plays a role in 1., but I would like to emphasize it. To stand out means not to accept every task, not to put up with everything for fear of rejection and not to be told what one's life should look like or what is "normal".

3. be open to change

By this I mean, above all, the change that you may not have originally expected. In the course of their training or studies, many people develop a fixed idea of what their career, i.e. their CV, should look like. This is also helpful in order to be able to work in a targeted manner.

However, life often does not develop as planned or our own values and needs change. If we hold on too tightly to the original plan, it is difficult to embark on new paths without seeing steps already taken as a waste of time. Stubbornly sticking to the career path we've already taken, however, only prevents us from discovering new possibilities and paths that might even make us happier in the long run.

4. enjoyment and humour

What sounds trite is and remains an absolute secret weapon, if it is actually lived. Do not make your happiness dependent on the achievement of your goals. If you learn the Enjoy the moment regardless of external factors, take life less seriously and always spice it up with a pinch of humor, you are already doing something elementary to stay happy, healthy and content.

I would like to conclude with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi:

"There are more important things in life than constantly increasing its speed."

This article is a guest contribution from Silvia Hofmann
The moment of waking up exhausted from turbo mode and asking myself "what am I doing this for?" is one I've experienced. I was tired and realize I had evolved from a creative, fun-loving and active person to a well-functioning robot. At least that's how I felt at the time. Fortunately, I had people around me to talk to about it at the time. I started to question my inner attitude, what I did professionally and worked on my perfectionism.

This personal experience motivated me to train as a systemic coach and to accompany young people on their way. On the way to find their own voice again and to develop the right amount of serenity for them. For this I offer my individual coaching and my podcast "Young, dynamic, drained". You can find more information on .